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Berden must pay

Belgian Ben Berden has been ordered by a court in Antwepen that he must come up with the 60,000 Euros himself to cover the costs that were associated with his positive doping control for the banned substance EPO according to the Gazet van Antwerpen.

After competing in the Essen round of the Gazet van Antwepen (GvA) in 2004 Berden tested positive for EPO. Shortly afterwards, the crosser from the Limburg region in Belgium admitted to using the substance, and that he drove to Germany himself in order to buy the drug. The prosecutor in Tongeren ordered a search of the riders house, but in the end Berden was not sentenced to serve correctional time, but rather a two year suspension from taking part in any sport.

"This has hit me hard" admitted Berden. "There was a break down of the costs of the enquiry in the letter. DNA tests 12,500 euro a piece, telephone taps for Mobistar: 4,000 euro, the bill from Proximus: 8,000 euro and it keeps on coming. Professors left and right, this much, toxicologist examination, this much. It comes to a total of around 60,000 euro."

Berden disputed the case at the court in Antwerpen, but the judge refused to reverse his decision, remaining adamant that Berden was to pay back the costs involved. Which has made Berden question what he is to do next.

"I don't know what to do anymore, this is almost unachievable. I have worked it out and if I save every cent that I make from start money over the next three years, then I still won't be enough. You tell me: why should I continue with this. I would be better of declaring myself bankrupt and then just do some extra work on the side for cash. I am being punished for my honesty. I gave up all the information straight away so that there would be nothing for them to search for. If I knew that they were going to do this I would have been better of continuing to lie," he said.

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